Adaptogens for Female Hormones
Do you feel like crying for no good reason? Do you feel like you could rip somebody’s head off? Is sex the last thing on Earth you crave? Are your cycles irregular? Are your PMS symptoms more unpleasant? And is it more difficult for you to lose weight?
It’s not your fault! You can blame it on your hormones! Stress of all kinds (physical, emotional, chemical/environmental) can disrupt your hormone balance. Having low or unbalanced hormones can make you feel irritable, sluggish, depressed, sexually uninterested and overweight.
The good news is there’s an all-natural solution for balancing female hormones. Adaptogenic herbs, aka adaptogens, contain compounds that are clinically-proven to help restore normal hormone function in women. The best part is that adaptogenic herbs are botanically-sourced and non-toxic.
The bad news for many women: conventional therapies may not be effective. And sometimes, pharmaceutical solutions for hormone balancing can have deadly consequences.
How do adaptogenic herbs balance female hormones?
Adaptogens directly affect your endocrine system. Your endocrine system is in charge of your hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that affect nearly every bodily function. Adaptogenic herbs, or more accurately the compounds in them, can direct your cells to make more or less or certain hormones … at the same time!
For example, adaptogens have been clinically-proven to lower cortisol (the so-called ‘chronic stress hormone’). But adaptogens can also increase estrogen levels while lowering cortisol.
This is a ‘Cliffs-Notes’ version of human physiology. But you’re not interested in getting a doctorate in endocrinology, right? You just want to look and feel your best. And adaptogens are here to help….
Adaptogens don’t overwhelm your body with an abundance of one hormone. Hormone-replacement therapy floods your body with certain hormones like estrogen. But adaptogens supply instructions to your cells to alter little by little several hormones. Over time, this provides you with better-balanced female hormones.
What are some adaptogens that are good for female hormone balancing?
Ashwagandha (aka Withania somnifera, aka “Indian Winter cherry” or “Indian Ginseng”): Ashwagandha can help improve thyroid gland function. Abnormally-low thyroid gland production can negatively affect PMS. Ashwagandha has been clinically-proven to boost the conversion of T4 (inactive/storage hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone). This study, published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, concluded, “Generally speaking Ashwagandha is a good adaptogen for women.”
Another study, this one in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, concluded Ashwagandha increased GABA activity. GABA is a neurotransmitter. One thing GABA does is help to reduce anxiety. Researchers hypothesized in the study that because Ashwagandha increases GABA activity, it may explain why many people reported feeling more relaxed after taking the adaptogenic herb.
One more Ashwagandha clinically-proven benefit for you to consider: another study in the Indian Journal of Medical Research found that Ashwagandha safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life. Remember, you don’t get unbalanced or low hormones out of the air, like catching a cold. Hormone imbalance comes from stress. Also, many women don’t realize that male sex hormones like testosterone are crucial for lean muscle mass. Ashwagandha can also increase testosterone levels.
Schizandra (aka Schisandra Fruit): This adaptogen has been regarded in herbal medicine as a sexual tonic for centuries. In modern research, including this study in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, schisandra fruit has demonstrated the ability to exert an anti-stress effect by balancing the HPA axis. The HPA axis is responsible for releasing stress hormones.
Chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus): Chaste tree berry has active molecules that stimulates the feel-good chemical messenger, dopamine. Women may benefit from this adaptogen because it mimics the master hormone, progesterone. Progesterone gets metabolized into sex hormones. If you’re low on progesterone because of stress, your estrogen levels will also likely be low. Here’s another benefit of chaste tree berry. This study, published in Advances in Therapy, concluded it improved PMS symptoms with no substantial adverse events.
One more study for you to digest for chaste tree berry: A review of chasteberry in National Product Research showed significant increases in plasma progesterone and total estrogens levels in test subjects.
Peruvian Maca: Maca may help balance hormones and help mitigate negative outcomes of menopause. This study concluded that maca significantly stimulated production of estrogen. When estrogen increases in menopausal women, symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats can be alleviated. The researchers concluded that maca is “an attractive non-hormonal addition to the choices available to early-postmenopausal women in the form of a natural plant alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).”